Photo: Gary Nastase and Auto Imagery

Brittany Force, Hight highlight Texas NHRA winners

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ENNIS, Texas (AP) Robert Hight drove to the Funny Car victory Sunday at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.

Hight raced to a 3.877-second pass at 332.34 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro SS to beat reigning world champion and category points leader Ron Capps in the final.

It is Hight’s fourth win of the season, 41st of his career, third at Texas Motorplex and second in the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship. Hight remains second in the points standings with Capps in first by just 24 points.

Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also earned victories in their respective categories at the fourth of six playoff events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.

Force piloted her dragster to a Texas Motorplex elapsed time record of 3.681 at 326.87 to defeat Shawn Langdon in the Top Fuel finals. The victory, Brittany’s third of the season and sixth of her career, moves her into second in the points standings.

Defending Pro Stock world champion Line found himself in the winner’s circle for the second time this season and 27th time of his career after running a 6.548 pass at 211.20 in his Chevrolet Camaro to take down Drew Skillman, who lost on red-light start.

Krawiec rode his Harley-Davidson to a 9.336 pass at 92.62, which was enough due to a red-light start from defending world champion Jerry Savoie. It is Krawiec’s sixth win of the season, 42nd of his career and second consecutive and third total at Texas Motorplex.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 26-29, with the 17th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”